Explore powerline communication in industrial applications

June 11, 2013 // By Nick Flaherty
Semitech Semiconductor has introduced a development and evaluation node for using narrowband power line communications in industrial applications.

The SM9200 is a complete system that plugs into any powerline with a standard IEC “plug”, derives power from the AC line, presents a serial port to a host system or application node and provides immediate communication over a power-line using the Semitech SM2200 advanced OFDMA modem chip.
The node comes complete with supporting application software, the most flexible of which allows the user to explore the full range of frequencies and power settings that could be used to communicate on any particular power line. In addition, the SM9200 node can also be used as a RS485-to-Powerline converter for any number of devices that supports protocols such as IEC62056-21 or Modbus.
The SM9200 is a complete system that provides a quick and easy way to evaluate SM2200 performance for RS485 cable replacement projects. Users of the SM9200 node will be up and communicating on the powerline in minutes and, for many industrial applications, have an effective replacement for an RS-485 cable demonstrated soon after.
The SM9200 Demonstration node consists of two boards: a SM8200 PLC module which contains the SM2200 chip, a microcontroller, and a front-end and coupling circuit; and a base board which contains a power supply module, PLC module connector, communication interface (USB/RS232/RS485) and a reset button. The SM8200 module can be manufactured by the user to embed in the user’s application.
The host interface to the node is through a standard miniUSB connector. A standard IEC plug is also used as the mains power connector to accommodate different types of mains outlet. Two SM9200 nodes can communicate to each other over power line when both are connected to the power line and running the same protocol, either IEC62056-21 or Modbus or the same GUI application as illustrated the picture below.
Semitech;  www.semitechsemi.com